Panel Grants Lawyer Access To Lekki Shooting Video
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters has granted counsel to three #EndSARS protesters access to a surveillance video, which captured the October 20 shootings at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
Panel chair Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi directed the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to make the 20-hour footage available to the protesters’ lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana.
Ogunlana, Justice Okuwobi said, would have 48 hours to review the footage and inform the court which portions of the video should be shown during the panel sitting.
The judge did not uphold a suggestion by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) representative Bernard Oniga, for the video to be made more widely available, including to the press.
Soldiers have been accused of shooting at #EndSARS protesters, injuring and killing some, an allegation the military has denied.
The shootings were believed to have occurred from just over 6pm on October 20.
About four hours of the video were played on Friday from about between 11:35am and nearly past 5pm, with a pause in between during break time.
The video, broken into footages of roughly 30 minutes in length, took up all of the day’s sitting with no time left to hear other petitions.
The footages displayed on a large screen in the room, showed vehicular movement as well as protesters’ around the toll gate, but captured from a long distance away.
The video was tendered by LCC Managing Director, Abayomi Omomuwa, through LCC’s counsel, Rotimi Seriki, on Tuesday.
Omomuwa, whose firm operates the toll gate, said the footage was retrieved from a surveillance camera mounted by the firm on a mast at the toll gate.
Before the video was played, Ogunlana, who previously participated in previous panel sittings as an observer, caused a stir when he announced his appearance as a counsel for #EndSARS protesters.
The former NBA Ikeja Branch chairman told the panel that he would like to cross-examine Omowuwa.
Seriki and Lagos State Government counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) opposed Ogunlana’s appearance on the ground that “#EndSARS” is not a legal person.
Owonikoko described #EndSARS as a nebulous entity with no structure or leader and sought to know where Ogunlana got his instruction to appear before the panel.
Seriki, on his part said since the LCC MD was before the panel on a subpoena, “he cannot be cross-examined by every Tom, Dick, and Harry.”
But they both withdrew their objection when Ogunlana called out his three female clients.
The trio – Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, and Perpetual Kamsiyuchukwu – announced their appearance through Ogunlana.
“I am not representing spirits or ghosts. We’re here to tell the truth. These are part of the people running underground, being threatened,” Ogunlana said.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Okuwobi admitted the protesters as a party and allowed their lawyer’s appearance.
Seriki and Owonikoko’s noted that the footage was date and time stamped.
They suggested that the video should be fast-forwarded to about 5pm, which is when it starts capturing footage relevant to the shootings.
But Ogunlana opposed them and insisted on the entire 20-hour video to be played, following which it was played for about four hours.
Towards the end of the proceedings, Ogunlana sought the protection of the court for #EndSARS protesters and himself. He said they were operating under a cloud of fear.
But Owonikoko contested the claim, saying there was no threat to the witnesses.
The panel adjourned till November 10 for the Lekki Shootings matter while sitting resumes on Saturday for other petitions.
Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”
Ogun To Arrest Illegal Occupants Of Forest Reserve
The Ogun State government said it would soon start combing its forest reserve to arrest and prosecute illegal occupants .
The State Commissioner for Forestry , Tunji Akinosi , said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abeokuta , the state capital.
Akinosi said the government had written letters to the traditional rulers in the areas asking them to tell the illegal occupants to leave or be arrested .
He said, “ We have asked those that are illegally occupying our lands to leave , and now we are moving to the second stage of combing the areas ourselves and arresting those that are still residents in the reserve. ”
The Commissioner, while speaking on the depleted condition of the forest reserve, said, “ In the last 18 months , this administration has taken the bull by the horn in getting the Imeko and Aworo Forest Reserves back and running .
“ Unfortunately , the depletion did not start right now , it has been there and government this year alone had met twice with the Iledotun project coordinators and had taken 108 ,000 hectares of the forest reserve in Imeko and Aworo for regeneration .
“ We call it LND project , Land Degradation Neutrality project where you bring people of diverse nations to regenerate that place , and I am sure that between now and the next few months , you will see the work that would start there in reclaiming all the land that is there .”
Police Misconduct Responsible For #EndSARS Protests —PSC
The Chairman , Police Service Commission , Musiliu Smith , has attributed the # EndSARS protests to the misconduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Smith , a former Inspector -General of Police , decried the level of misconduct in the police force saying his office was always inundated with complaints from Nigerians .
The PSC chairman stated this at a retreat with the IG and his police management team , in Abuja on Tuesday .
Smith ’s statement contradicted claims by the Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed that the October protests were instigated by political and religious leaders .
He also said the demonstrations which were subsequently hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting , were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government .
But puncturing these claims in his first public comment on the incident , the retired IG said, “ We are always having a lot of complaints from the members of the public against police officers. I believe that # EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel .
“ I want to advise that we review the arrangements we are making for investigating such cases . Let ’s ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law . If we are doing that , some of the public complaints will go down . ”
Smith , who had been at loggerheads with the police leadership on the recruitment of police constables , also admonished IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of court cases against the police was alarming , stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded against it .
In his remarks earlier, the IGP noted that the retreat was to bridge the communication gap and engender a better understanding and working relationship between the force and the police service commission .
The Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubukar Malami , who also spoke at the retreat, harped on the need for a harmonious working relationship among all the agencies of the government .